Latent Deprivation and Mental Health: Validation of the Latent and Manifest Benefits Scale (LAMB) on a Sample of Unemployed Social Assistance Recipients


  • Dinka Caha Pravni fakultet Osijek Sveučilišta Josipa Jurja Strossmayera u Osijeku, Osijek, Hrvatska
  • Darja Maslić Seršić Filozofski fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, Odsjek za psihologiju, Zagreb, Hrvatska
  • Miranda Novak Edukacijsko-rehabilitacijski fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, Odsjek za poremećaje u ponašanju, Zagreb, Hrvatska


latent deprivation model, social assistance recipients, the Latent and Manifest Benefits Scale, mental health, unemployment


Jahodaʼs latent deprivation model is the most common framework for examining the relationship between unemployment and mental health. According to this model, in modern society, employment provides a regular income and financial security and enables psychological needs that cannot be satisfied in any other way. The paper aims to test the construct validity of the Latent and Manifest Benefits scale (Muller et al., 2005), its reliability, and predictive validity in mental health. A total of 209 unemployed social assistance recipients participated in this study (Mage = 44.9; SD = 10.45; 58.9% men). The performed statistical analysis and verification of the latent structure confirmed the assumed six-factor structure of the LAMB scale on a Croatian sample of unemployed social assistance recipients. According to the results, the best fit is the  ESEM model (χ2 = 771.050; df = 429; CFI = .902; TLI = .856; SRMR = .039; RMSEA = .062 [.055-.069]). The LAMB scale is a reliable and valid instrument, and each of its six dimensions has a significant positive correlation with mental health. The results of the path analysis with manifest variables show that the sense of purpose, social status, and level of activity are significant predictors of mental health. This paper confirmed the conceptual latent deprivation model on a sample of hard-to-employ people and determined the validity of the LAMB scale for use in the Croatian context. The results highlight the importance of expanding support for people living in poverty by providing them with mental health support and addressing latent deprivation.